Getting to Market With Rails

Jun 6, 2021

The last era of startups might have been defined by a single web framework, Ruby on Rails. Companies that were started with Rails:

  • Basecamp
  • Shopify (2006)
  • Slideshare (2006)
  • Crunchbase (2007)
  • Netflix (2007)
  • Zendesk (2007)
  • Hulu (2007)
  • Airbnb (2008)
  • Groupon (2008)
  • GitHub (2008)
  • Kickstarter (2009)
  • Dribbble (2009)
  • Fiverr (2010)
  • Twitch (2011)
  • GitLab (2011)
  • Coinbase (2012)

Rails was the lowest code solution of its day. A quick and easy way to get a Create-Read-Update-Delete application up and running.

Even early team members went on to great things. Tobias Lütke, the founder and CEO of Shopify, was part of the core team of the Ruby on Rails framework. He created the ActiveMerchant library for Rails, which became a foundation for Shopify.

Rails didn't solve all problems. Some of these startups at scale (Twitch, Coinbase, Github) have painstakingly rewritten core parts of their infrastructure in more performant languages. We'll never know the counterfactual: could startups have grown faster if they chose the "right" technology from the start? Would they have ever launched?

Sometimes to go far, you just need to go fast.